Statement: Trump Administration’s National Ocean Policy Puts Short-term Economic Gain Over Long-term Ocean Health

Jun 20, 2018

On June 19, the Trump Administration issued an executive order creating a new National Ocean Policy to guide federal management of U.S. ocean and coastal resources. This new National Ocean Policy revokes the one established in 2010 by President Obama, shifting the focus from stewardship and sustainability of ocean resources to economic development and national security.

“The President’s executive order undermines our ability to sustain ocean and coastal resources over time for the benefit of this and future generations of Americans,” said Monterey Bay Aquarium Executive Director Julie Packard, a member of the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative.

“The new policy places too much emphasis on short-term economic gain over long-term ocean health and prosperity,” Packard said. “As an institution committed to the advancement of ocean science and conservation, the Aquarium is concerned that the Trump Administration's actions weaken the previous National Ocean Policy’s focus on strong, science-based protection and management of our nation’s incredible ocean and coastal ecosystems and resources.”

“The National Ocean Policy was established in 2010 to strengthen the federal government’s role in ensuring that our ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes are healthy and resilient,” she added. “Weakening this policy sends the wrong signal—that our nation no longer prioritizes the need to protect our ocean and coastal resources, and the well-being, prosperity and security they provide to all Americans.”

The 2010 National Ocean Policy, which Trump's order replaces, was developed with input and support from the nation’s top business, government, military, science and environmental leaders. Among them was Packard, a member of the Pew Oceans Commission, one of two national commissions that called for the creation of a national ocean policy.

For more than 30 years, Monterey Bay Aquarium has used its voice to inspire a rising generation to care about, and care for, the living ocean and all its inhabitants. The Aquarium will keep working with the business community, elected officials and international leaders to address the threats facing the ocean today, from overfishing and plastic pollution to the impacts of climate change. We will continue to champion science-based approaches to inform solutions to these threats and guide us to a sustainable ocean future. 

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The mission of the nonprofit Monterey Bay Aquarium is to inspire conservation of the ocean.